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Annual Award Ceremony Celebrates Student Success Stories

Posted Apr. 24, 2014

JMC students who earned national, international or regional recognition were honored at JMC’s annual award ceremony on Wednesday evening, as part of Student Success Week.

Forty-seven student honorees won, placed, or were nominated in the most prestigious national, international and regional intercollegiate award, fellowship, internship and scholarship programs. Another 24 advertising majors were recognized for their entry in the highly competitive Collegiate Effie Awards, in which JMC doubled its number of entries from 2013, and our first entry in the international Young Ones creative competition.

“We have had an amazing year, and we have much to celebrate,” said JMC Director Thor Wasbotten.  “In the Hearst Foundation awards, which are often called the Pulitzer Prizes for collegiate journalism, JMC students finished in the top 10 four times, in four different competitions.”

The long and impressive list of JMC’s 2013-2014 academic year awards includes:

  • Ranking fourth in the nation in the Hearst photojournalism competition – the highest ranking Kent State has ever attained
  • Placing ninth in the nation so far in the ongoing Hearst writing competitions
  • Winning a gold medal and two Awards of Excellence in the College Photographer of the Year awards, the largest student photography competition in the world
  • Winning TV Station of the Year – for the second year in a row – in the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association (ACP/CMA) awards
  • Winning third place in the multi-camera live-to-tape category in the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Arts
  • Achieving six first-place wins in the SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards 
  • Winning an honorable mention in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA’s) Bateman Case Study competition, and being named a PRSSA Pacesetter chapter
  • Winning College Innovator of the Year award in the Associated Press Media Editors’ awards 
  • Earning two top honors and two awards of excellence in the Ohio News Photographers Association competition
  • Winning a News21 fellowship for only the second time in JMC’s history.
  • Winning two Dow Jones internships
  • Winning a Pulliam fellowship
  • Winning two Student Law Center internships; and
  • Earning six of seven John S. Knight scholarships from the Akron Press Club.

“Your work this academic year – so well supported by JMC faculty – is respected by your peers and industry leaders. Your work is deeply relevant. And the real experiences you are attaining will take you far in the future,” Wasbotten told the honorees.

Faculty members Dave LaBelle, Mitch McKenney, Sue Zake, John Butte, Wendy Wardell and Tim Roberts presented award certificates to the students, commending their work and professional growth. The specially designed certificates featured a rendering of the iconic StarSphere 2010 sculpture in front of Franklin Hall, which symbolizes global communication and the First Amendment.

Student Reactions

The event offered an opportunity for students to reflect on the significance of national recognition.

“It’s interesting to observe my own progression. When I was starting out, the Hearst award seemed so unattainable. I couldn’t quite imagine getting there. Now, I feel lucky to have another year at JMC. Next year, I hope to place even higher in the Hearst competition,” said junior visual journalism major Jenna Watson, who placed fifth in the nation in the Hearst Foundation’s photojournalism news and features competition.

“It’s great to be recognized by a school that actually celebrates its students. This award encourages me to keep pursuing the work I love,” said senior news major David Hrvatin, who shared a BEA award with senior Allie Johnson and graduate student Katy Coduto

“Since I’m graduating, I am sentimental about things. It’s so nice to have this recognition on a piece of paper. And it’s great to celebrate with students I’ve known since we were freshmen, and to see how we’ve progressed together,” said senior PR major Hannah Hamner, who will teach English in Costa Rica after graduation this May.

“I’m still in shock,” said freshman Andrea Noall, who won an Award of Excellence from ONPA.  “My award makes me want to work just as hard each year I’m here and keep doing what I love.  The freshman class has made such leaps and strides. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.”


Rotator Caption:  The JMC student award ceremony recognized students who participated in national, international and regional awards. (Photo by Graham Smith)